Six months into what has quickly become the most partisan, chaotic and dysfunctional presidency in modern American history, some undeniable truths are starting to emerge.
One is that, while the Biden administration can depend on their fellow travelers in the U.S. media to spin domestic news to their benefit, they are helpless when international events occur that expose this White House’s duplicity and incompetence.
This was on display last month during Kamala Harris’s train wreck of a mission to Guatemala. She was greeted with protesters telling her to go home. The president of Guatemala called out the administration for worsening the border crisis, and Harris looked evasive and unserious when confronted with even softball questions by media allies.
It is happening again as a result of recent events in the Caribbean. The president of Haiti was assassinated in his home, leading one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere into further instability. At the same time, citizens in Cuba rose up in perhaps the most public protests ever against the repressive, ossified communist regime that has been in power since 1959. It was a golden opportunity for an American president to support the Cuban people who are bravely standing up to tyranny.
Instead we got the hapless, embattled Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas announcing that, while he supports the Cuban people, anyone from Cuba or Haiti attempting to sail the Straits of Florida to seek asylum in the U.S. would be sent back by the Coast Guard. The irony of the statement was thick, as Mayorkas emigrated from Cuba to the U.S. with his family in 1960.
Since the passage of the Refugee Act in 1980, it has been American policy that anyone seeking asylum in the U.S. via the sea would be denied. This came after the Vietnamese boat people in the mid-1970s and those in the Mariel boatlift in 1980 overwhelmed U.S. port cities and immigration officials.
The policy was enacted for legitimate reasons, but it raises a glaring question. If it is okay to protect South Florida coastal cities from being deluged with Cubans and Haitians, why has this administration abandoned such security concerns at our southern land border by allowing untold numbers of migrants to overwhelm communities from California to the Rio Grande Valley? Cubans who would sail to Florida will be sent back, but those who might venture to the Yucatan peninsula and walk across the border would be welcomed? The two policies are wildly inconsistent.
A motive, as always seems to be the case with this administration, may be found in partisan politics. Biden’s Democratic Party has fully embraced the idea that those fleeing the poverty of Central America’s Northern Triangle will make ideal Democrat voters in the near future. That explains why talking points from the left focus on the humanitarian obligation of America to allow entry to all those fleeing hardship in developing countries.
Cuba, however, is a different case altogether. Since before JFK referred to it as “that imprisoned island” in his 1962 Cuban missile crisis address to the nation, Cubans have been living under the boot of the thuggish Castro regime and its current descendants. The regime’s adherence to Soviet-style communism condemned generations of Cubans to grinding poverty, atrocious living conditions and denial of the most basic human rights. Most of those who managed to escape the island became staunch anti-communists who tended to vote Republican and have helped make Florida the right-leaning state it is today.
Because of this, the left has largely acted as if the recent protests in Cuba never happened. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-appointed conscience of the Congress, devout socialist and advocate for oppressed people worldwide, said absolutely nothing about Cuba on her widely read Twitter account. It’s bad enough that Cuban refugees tend to vote Republican. That they can speak with first-hand experience to the horrors of communism is apparently unforgiveable.
Make no mistake, if there was a good chance that Cubans would make loyal Democrats, AOC, her “Squad” comrades and the Biden administration would advocate passionately how we have a moral obligation to rescind the Refugee Act right now and allow daily flotillas of Cubans into Miami.
While our country is currently polarized along ideological lines, most people with a grounding in common sense could agree that we should have an immigration policy that is based not on fringe partisan politics, but simply what is in the best interests of America and its citizens first. If we are ever to break free of this administration’s tone-deaf, hyper-political mismanagement, it will be required for those people to make their voices heard en masse.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.